By Ryan Skinner (email)
This is the tenth part of the ten-part FoIS series that I introduced last week, presenting the results of a unique survey about Internet use in the shipping industry. The survey was created by this blog, together with ShipServ for its Connect10 conference earlier this year.
For those interested in receiving the full responses in a .pdf report after the full series has been published, send me an email requesting it.
Here are the conclusions drawn from the entirety of the survey's questions and responses:
The shipping industry is steaming into Internet-driven business processes, slowed only by the demands of gaining familiarity and knowledge of the platforms during a hectic workday. For those who like to expound upon the slow and conservative nature of shipping business, this survey would seem to be a rebuke.
With that said, there remains a significant amount of ground (or sea) to cover before users and the market in general feel fully comfortable completing transactions over the Internet. A large minority of people even feel like they are getting nowhere in this respect. Even if this is a response of frustration, there is the sense that adoption of e-business is a major competitive advantage, and not something any shipping business can neglect.
Shipping professionals bring the same mechanisms for judging suppliers and offers on the Internet, as they use in offline business. In other words, your good reputation is a precondition, and successful deliveries for other companies a necessity.
Shipping companies will continue to increase the amount of tasks that they complete online, which will have untold effects on their business. Further, how will increased use of online business channels impact suppliers, third-party service providers and charterers? These are questions for further research.